WINTER GARDEN

Winter tomatoes

Composters, fruit trees and earth oven (right)

Beans in December!

Snow peas

Limey!

Farmer D and Chef Onil in the garden

Winter in SoCal means citrus and all sorts of tangy treats.  Sorry for making many of you feel jealous but that’s what’s in season now.  We are certainly spoiled because of our year round growing season.

Our lime tree finally producing now – took a few years.  It’s a dwarf on the recycled concrete patio in one of those whiskey barrels.  Now that I have a decent harvest of limes I am contemplating the best way to use them.  I could make up some salsa since we still have tomatoes and some cilantro growing.  Homegrown salsa in December!

Recently we had to tear our our dwarf grapefruit.  Sniff.   A type of nasty scales attacked the plant and we were just unable to control it – even though we tried every natural deterrent under the sun.  Farmer D plans to replace the grapefruit tree with another but it will take year or two before we are able to harvest anything decent.

With our having such a tiny plot we can’t sacrifice sun for large heavy bearing fruit frees.  Instead have to opt for dwarf, semi dwarf and even espalier type fruit trees.  Such compact trees make for efficient space saving methods here the urban farm.

I am still hoping to squeeze a few (one) dwarf tangerine tree somewheres… now if I can only find where.  You see one of Farmer D’s good advice is “don’t bring home any more plants unless you have  a place for it.”  Good advice but hard for us plant addicts to follow  In fact,  it’s common for Farmer D to disregarded his own advice!

The winter garden is coming along nicely.  We’ve gotten pasts the “tween season” were the garden was looking a bit rough as we transitioned from summer, fall to winter in less than two months.

I am enjoying standing in the garden surrounded by kaleidoscopic of colors (like a carpet).  A sight that will be spoiled soon when the hoops and row covers go up to protect the crops from frost.

In fall, when the beds go through such a radical transition, we don’t want the soil to be exposed too long so the easiest thing is to throw out a bunch of edible greens – they grow fast.  Giving us time to transition to cooler weather vegetables like broccoli, radishes, green onions, garlic, carrots and snow peas.

Still to plant are beets, cabbages, turnips.

End of the Week

It’s been another busy week.  We are wrapping up filming and editing of Homegrown Revolution.  We have to submit the final cut by December 15th.  We also got word that out  of the 25 films being shown at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Homegrown Revolution was chosen as one of just a few to be featured in the WSFF traveling tour!   Meaning HomeGrown Revolution will be shown in a few hundred cities across the USA.   Also, we are even thinking of making our little homegrown production available on DVD. So stay tuned for that.

Saturday our family will go over to our friends house to take part in the in home premier screening of HomeGrown by Robert Mcfalls.  Actually, we not sure if we are going to even watch it.  It’s just weird, especially with so many friends of ours in the audience.  I mean, why would they care to see you on screen when you are right there in the flesh – weird is all.    Anyhow, I may just take the opportunity to use the huge trampoline that’s in our friends house backyard.  Definitely more fun and exciting then seeing my mug on screen.

While I bounce I can formulate how to write all that’s going on in our life and that of the urban homestead.  There’s soooo much I can’t even begin to tell it all.

Oh, I do want to say that Freedom Gardens surpassed 1,700 members today!.  It’s shaping up to be a great little online community of people who are passionate about growing their own food.   We still aren’t done working on the site… there’s more to come.

Thank you to all who are spreading the word, such a wonderful social network couldn’t grow without your help.  Hmm, should we go out on a limb and shoot for 1 million Freedom Gardeners?  That would be something?

Comments(24)

  1. Stacy says:

    Citrus – our lemon is loaded, though they’re smaller than usual (we get about three crops a year from it).

    My fall plantings have mostly come up… and then seem to stall and just stay cute little seedlings forever. I keep thinking “come on peas, you can do it!”

  2. Stacy says:

    Citrus – our lemon is loaded, though they’re smaller than usual (we get about three crops a year from it).

    My fall plantings have mostly come up… and then seem to stall and just stay cute little seedlings forever. I keep thinking “come on peas, you can do it!”

  3. Terry says:

    Its nice to be able to look at your green stuff! I can’t even see outside because of all the quilts on the windows, and its a balmy 18 degrees out there!

  4. Terry says:

    Its nice to be able to look at your green stuff! I can’t even see outside because of all the quilts on the windows, and its a balmy 18 degrees out there!

  5. Laura says:

    if you guys are in need/want of tangerines, i have a huge tree with more than i know what to do with! they just started to ripen in the last few weeks, and nearly all of them have turned orange by now!

  6. Laura says:

    if you guys are in need/want of tangerines, i have a huge tree with more than i know what to do with! they just started to ripen in the last few weeks, and nearly all of them have turned orange by now!

  7. Chris says:

    Anais,
    Thankyou for talking a little bit about the citrus! It is so hard to get anything reliable on the net concerning them. You see, I live in Wisconsin, and I am raising two orange plants in pots. I put them out under a tree in the summer, and bring them in, in the fall. The thing that is so complicated, (at least for me) is, how big a pot, what kind of soil to plant them in, whether to trim back, or let grow, to fertilize in winter or not. Just kind of a bunch of questions, that I don’t seem to get a strait answer on, from the net. One site tells me this and another site tells me that. … I love growing them though. One I’ve grown from a little seedling, and it actually is the largest tree, growing larger, faster then an older one I bought before. However, I’ve also killed a few trees that I wish I hadn’t. The learning curve on these trees seems to be a little harder for me. They look so good in the stores, then I proceed to kill them! Maybe because I don’t know enough about these lovely little trees. Mine are miniatures. Are yours? If not, do you just get dwarf trees and pot them? Well thanks so much! Also if anyone else wants to reply on this, I will check back for a few days! (Maybe Stacy?) Thanks, C

  8. Chris says:

    Anais,
    Thankyou for talking a little bit about the citrus! It is so hard to get anything reliable on the net concerning them. You see, I live in Wisconsin, and I am raising two orange plants in pots. I put them out under a tree in the summer, and bring them in, in the fall. The thing that is so complicated, (at least for me) is, how big a pot, what kind of soil to plant them in, whether to trim back, or let grow, to fertilize in winter or not. Just kind of a bunch of questions, that I don’t seem to get a strait answer on, from the net. One site tells me this and another site tells me that. … I love growing them though. One I’ve grown from a little seedling, and it actually is the largest tree, growing larger, faster then an older one I bought before. However, I’ve also killed a few trees that I wish I hadn’t. The learning curve on these trees seems to be a little harder for me. They look so good in the stores, then I proceed to kill them! Maybe because I don’t know enough about these lovely little trees. Mine are miniatures. Are yours? If not, do you just get dwarf trees and pot them? Well thanks so much! Also if anyone else wants to reply on this, I will check back for a few days! (Maybe Stacy?) Thanks, C

  9. Stacy says:

    Chris –

    I’m afraid I can’t be much help. All the houses I’ve ever lived in here in Southern California seem to have had citrus of one sort or another planted in the yard, and they tend to just get watered with the lawn and do their thing with no particular effort. I don’t even know exactly what kinds/cultivars they were/are. My lemon drives us a little crazy because by the time we use/harvest one round it is flowering with the next – we have no idea when it puts effort into root development! (My roses are in the same boat the past few years, actually – they don’t go dormant for me even when I prune them – they’re always back within less than a month.) A lime I recently inherited from a friend is struggling – it was in a pot at her house and suffered severe heat stress during our October fires. Despite being in the ground now and getting regular deep waterings, it’s still having a rough time, we may lose it. The tangello, the one I actually eat off most voraciously, is the only one who seems to keep to a regular seasonal fruiting cycle.

    Citrus love sun – you might try easing them out from under the tree when you introduce them to the big wide world again next spring. I know sudden shift into full sun would be stressful, but over the course of a couple weeks, they might ultimately appreciate the full sun. I had a friend who transplanted to Illinois and was growing bougainvillea much like you with your citrus and had very similar issues. They’re a plant that grows like crazy around here and he was desperate for that particular bit of color in his new place. His neighbors thought he was nuts, living with potted bougainvillea in his dining room all winter – but last I saw they were doing great! Keep at it!

  10. Stacy says:

    Chris –

    I’m afraid I can’t be much help. All the houses I’ve ever lived in here in Southern California seem to have had citrus of one sort or another planted in the yard, and they tend to just get watered with the lawn and do their thing with no particular effort. I don’t even know exactly what kinds/cultivars they were/are. My lemon drives us a little crazy because by the time we use/harvest one round it is flowering with the next – we have no idea when it puts effort into root development! (My roses are in the same boat the past few years, actually – they don’t go dormant for me even when I prune them – they’re always back within less than a month.) A lime I recently inherited from a friend is struggling – it was in a pot at her house and suffered severe heat stress during our October fires. Despite being in the ground now and getting regular deep waterings, it’s still having a rough time, we may lose it. The tangello, the one I actually eat off most voraciously, is the only one who seems to keep to a regular seasonal fruiting cycle.

    Citrus love sun – you might try easing them out from under the tree when you introduce them to the big wide world again next spring. I know sudden shift into full sun would be stressful, but over the course of a couple weeks, they might ultimately appreciate the full sun. I had a friend who transplanted to Illinois and was growing bougainvillea much like you with your citrus and had very similar issues. They’re a plant that grows like crazy around here and he was desperate for that particular bit of color in his new place. His neighbors thought he was nuts, living with potted bougainvillea in his dining room all winter – but last I saw they were doing great! Keep at it!

  11. Tara says:

    Hey Dervaes, I just read something that said Johnny’s Seeds was partially supplied by Seminis which is now owned by Monsanto. Do you know if this is true and how to tell which of Johnny’s seeds are Seminis seeds?

  12. Tara says:

    Hey Dervaes, I just read something that said Johnny’s Seeds was partially supplied by Seminis which is now owned by Monsanto. Do you know if this is true and how to tell which of Johnny’s seeds are Seminis seeds?

  13. jennifer says:

    i wanted to know how your raised beds where constructed. i’ve seen concrete block used and was wondering if you had any insight of construction methods and what is the most green and inexpensive in the long run. i’m just looking for some advise from someone who has done it before. what works for you? and what if anything would you change about your setup?

  14. jennifer says:

    i wanted to know how your raised beds where constructed. i’ve seen concrete block used and was wondering if you had any insight of construction methods and what is the most green and inexpensive in the long run. i’m just looking for some advise from someone who has done it before. what works for you? and what if anything would you change about your setup?

  15. Anny says:

    I sure wish I could have a garden like that in the winter, damn living in Michigan. The only thing my garden is producing right now is eggs, and not that many either!

  16. Anny says:

    I sure wish I could have a garden like that in the winter, damn living in Michigan. The only thing my garden is producing right now is eggs, and not that many either!

  17. Judy says:

    The garden looks awesome! Can you go into a little more detail about the winter/fall type crops that you have planted?

  18. Judy says:

    The garden looks awesome! Can you go into a little more detail about the winter/fall type crops that you have planted?

  19. Chris says:

    Thanks Stacy,
    I’ll just keep trying to keep these two trees of mine alive! I hope for the day that I have a green house, and until then my trees are in the livingroom too! I know people think I’m a little off, but I love growing things, and fully intend to keep them growing in my house no matter what.Thanks again! C

  20. Chris says:

    Thanks Stacy,
    I’ll just keep trying to keep these two trees of mine alive! I hope for the day that I have a green house, and until then my trees are in the livingroom too! I know people think I’m a little off, but I love growing things, and fully intend to keep them growing in my house no matter what.Thanks again! C

  21. Cheri says:

    Chris, Most citrus trees are grafted onto a sour orange root stock. The sour orange is very hardy and resistant so if you are growing from a seed, you probably will not get much fruit if any, at least of the kind you want. They do love lots of sun and thrive in Arizona as well as Florida and Southern California. They can be kept trimmed so they can be managed in a pot. They are susceptible to too much cold, not normally a problem where they grow out doors. I echo what Stacy says about acclimatizing in the trees in the summer. If you are fortunate enough to have blossoms in the spring and have the fruit set, then the harvesting time is usually in the fall ~ about now is when growers will start to pick in Arizona if it is Navel orange, Grapefruit, or certain varieties of tangerine or juice oranges. The growers like to wait until we have enough cold weather (cold for Az) for the color to change before picking as this triggers the ripening and sweetening. My grapefruit right now are still green. When we have a few cold nights they will change color and be ready to pick for eating. Most of the fruit will stay on the tree just fine (for storage) until mid to late spring even past blossoming.

    Hope this helps.

  22. Cheri says:

    Chris, Most citrus trees are grafted onto a sour orange root stock. The sour orange is very hardy and resistant so if you are growing from a seed, you probably will not get much fruit if any, at least of the kind you want. They do love lots of sun and thrive in Arizona as well as Florida and Southern California. They can be kept trimmed so they can be managed in a pot. They are susceptible to too much cold, not normally a problem where they grow out doors. I echo what Stacy says about acclimatizing in the trees in the summer. If you are fortunate enough to have blossoms in the spring and have the fruit set, then the harvesting time is usually in the fall ~ about now is when growers will start to pick in Arizona if it is Navel orange, Grapefruit, or certain varieties of tangerine or juice oranges. The growers like to wait until we have enough cold weather (cold for Az) for the color to change before picking as this triggers the ripening and sweetening. My grapefruit right now are still green. When we have a few cold nights they will change color and be ready to pick for eating. Most of the fruit will stay on the tree just fine (for storage) until mid to late spring even past blossoming.

    Hope this helps.

  23. Chris says:

    Cheri,
    Thanks so much! Any little bit helps this northern girl! I really don’t know any other person in my town who has a citrus tree, let alone, two! I’m the crazy one trying to force these trees to grow where they don’t belong!LOL I have read too many articles on people though, who like me, live in the wrong place and a still growing citrus. So I’ll just keep going! I wish I had room for a bunch more! Thanks again…. Oh, and these are little plants I sent away for. Little seedlings. I hope they will fruit. The one has once already, but I still struggle with them. Watering and such. How much and all that. I love it when they are outside as they do much better then! ..C

  24. Chris says:

    Cheri,
    Thanks so much! Any little bit helps this northern girl! I really don’t know any other person in my town who has a citrus tree, let alone, two! I’m the crazy one trying to force these trees to grow where they don’t belong!LOL I have read too many articles on people though, who like me, live in the wrong place and a still growing citrus. So I’ll just keep going! I wish I had room for a bunch more! Thanks again…. Oh, and these are little plants I sent away for. Little seedlings. I hope they will fruit. The one has once already, but I still struggle with them. Watering and such. How much and all that. I love it when they are outside as they do much better then! ..C

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